If you’ve ever secretly fancied just ‘having a go’ at morris dancing, the Flagcrackers of Craven are offering just that chance to men, women and children in the area. For the first time, on Sunday February 27th the Skipton team will be holding an Open Taster Session workshop for anyone interested to try their hand at some Border morris. That’s the colourful stick brandishing variety.
The session will be held at the side’s usual practise venue, Farnhill Institute from 10.30am until 3.30pm, with a break for lunch and the chance to meet and chat with the members.
Morris dancing and other folk traditions are currently enjoying a renaissance, even to the extent that it is set to play a key role in the 2012 Olympic celebrations, so The Flagcrackers invitation to join them at this open event is a timely opportunity to find out more about it at first hand.
The Flagcrackers of Craven’s ethos is to retain traditional morris dances and evolve new ones, with a generous dash of entertainment value for spectators. With members ranging from 4 to 70+ years of age, it’s open to anyone; no previous experience necessary! The February 27th Taster Session is an opportunity for the curious but nervous to have a go behind closed doors and even come to join the team in future in keeping this unique English dance heritage live and kicking.
The lively and noisy stick-clashing show that the Flagcrackers put on for their audiences at home and abroad may look relaxed and spontaneous, but it is actually a well-oiled machine that belies its own complexities. The ‘mixed’ side (i.e. including men and women) has a repertoire of many dances, of which in any given year around 12 are constantly rehearsed and danced out. Within each dance the 6 or 8 positions all feature different moves and the quiet winter months are used for dancers to learn familiar dances from new positions and to practise stepping and sticking techniques. New dances are learned and some developed creatively from scratch at workshops.
Opportunities to travel and experience other cultures are part and parcel of being a member of The Flagcrackers of Craven and the team have travelled abroad to take part in prestigious international events such as Europade at Quimper in Brittany where they appeared alongside 5000 other participants. Closer to home last year, the team performed at festivals in Upton, Holmfirth, Durham, Otley and Evesham.
A second open day taster will be held on March 20th.
For information on joining the side, or booking The Flagcrackers of Craven to entertain at an event, contact 01282 775026.